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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  December 31, 2020 3:00am-4:00am PST

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good morning. welcome to a special edition of "morning joe." we are on tape this morning as we round out 2020 and say good-bye to it, forever. and look forward to a new year ahead. of course, one of the first big events of 2021 is just days away and president-elect joe biden is sworn in as the 46th commander in chief. over the past few weeks we held a series of discussions featuring authors, reporters and historians about what the incoming president can learn from his predecessors. among them, dwight d. eisenhower. >> three days from now, after
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half a century in the service of our country, i shall lay down the responsibilities of office as in traditional and solemn ceremony the authority of the presidency is vested in my successor. we now stand ten years past the midpoint of the century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. three of these involve our own country. despite these holocausts, america is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. in the councils of government we must guard against unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought by the military industrial complex. the misplaced power will persist. >> let's bring in evan turner,
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he's author of one of my favorite ike books and that's saying a lot. i love reading about ike. it was ike's bluff, the secret battle to save the world. evan, we might -- we had steve inscape on talking about when a president leaves office often things change very quickly. i was giving the example of dr. brzezinski had a red phone in his house specially wired at 12:00 noon on january 20, 1981. the secret service came in, unceremoniously ripped the phone out of the wall and left a huge hole there, said see you later and got in the car and drove off and that was it. it reminded me of a hilarious scene in "ike's bluff" when poor ike tried to do something he
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hadn't done in 20 years. tell us about that. >> he tried to make a phone call. he was so unmodern and so used to being cared for that when he got his new home in pennsylvania in gettysburg, he -- the secret service drove off and he tried to make a phone call and he didn't know that you had to dial the numbers. he thought automatically there was an operator there. you can get disconnected from the real world in high office and eisenhower did, but in a greater sense he never lost his contact with reality. he knew what truth was and he knew what power was. >> what can harry truman learn -- i'm sorry, not harry truman. i was talking about harry truman a lot and i was thinking about the transition because i had read a relative of harry truman of what he did to prepare
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eisenhower and not telling truman about anything. despite the fact that two men loathed each other and that meeting between truman and eisenhower, the transition meeting was cold, but harry truman bent over backwards to make sure that ike was prepared. >> well, you know, both of those men were so deeply steeped in our system that whatever personal animosity they had they were going to get -- they were going to find a way to get along. and they also had a deep recognition of the problems that the united states faced. this is the very beginning of the nuclear age and for the first time the president of the united states has the power to end the world. that's an awesome power and both men understood it. truman was the first to actually use the weapon, to use the nuclear weapon and eisenhower as the guy who has inherited this
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world and the sudden growth of the h bomb. in fact, just as ike was being inaugurated we were testing our first h-bomb. so they knew the world in which they lived and that meant that they had to cooperate with each other. >> jeff greenfield? >> when i'm thinking about eisenhower, the most striking -- i was a young man at the time, a teenager, is how much he was a figure of fun. he couldn't finish the sentences, not tangled up in syntax and he was quite shrewd. he said, don't worry, i'll just confuse them. the other thing of course is that for people i guess that you might call -- sort of the left, the right-thinking left who saw
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in eisenhower as a kind of befuddled father figure. that line that you played, worried about the military industrial complex is that people on the left side of the spectrum most appreciated and said that was a warning that has not been followed in the decades since because john kennedy, his successor, worried about the prestige. you know? ticked off a large increase in military spending. so trying to measure the president in the moment when that president leaves office is sometimes a misleading thing. now, when this president leaves office, all bets are off. >> joe, ike had a wonderful thing. he had the confidence to be humble. he didn't need to show off. i mean, eisenhower conquered
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europe. he approved himself many times and it gave him this kind of confidence that he didn't need to show up. he was intentionally sometimes inarticulate. as you said, there's a famous story, oh, i'll just confuse them. he didn't need to seem cool because he was cool. he had been through so much that he knew when to talk and when to shut up. and he knew when to play it close to his chest, which every president has to do. it's an unbelievably lonely job and of course the desire is to be out there and to be seen by everybody. eisenhower understood the loneliness of command. after all, he had given the order to the allies to go on d-day. very tough call. he held this kind of pressure in himself and it damn near killed him. his stomach was ripping him up. his heart was ripping him up. but he knew how to control his emotions. he had an enormous temper, he kept it, he had a big ego. he controlled it.
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he knew how to control himself in a way that projected as humility. and that is a wonderful thing to have in a leader. >> so, you know, you were talking about what a lonely job being president of the united states is and you talked about a meeting that john kennedy had with harry truman's secretary of state, dean atchison and boy, really drove that point home. can you -- can you repeat that story for us here? >> yes. it really brought it home to me. this is kennedy now, but kennedy is thinking about are we going to go nuclear against the russians in berlin during the berlin crisis of 1961. and he wants some help and they bring in old dean atchison who had been truman's secretary of state and a big hawk and they bring him in because they think that atchison is going to give a
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dose of stiff blood to eisenhower and make him more hawkish. but no no no no, atchison says to eisenhower, he says, you know, i think about whether you're going to use nuclear weapons or not. >> kennedy. >> i'm sorry, to kennedy, excuse me. i think of using nuclear weapons but then tell no one. the point is you can't be advertising it. this is your decision. you know, you know -- if you tell people you won't have any negotiating power. your power comes from being a little bit indecipherable about this and not telling anybody. think of the pressure on one human being on this issue. am i going to use nuclear weapons or not? eisenhower never told anyone and that gave him a kind of power because the russians didn't know. nobody knew if ike was going to use those weapons. that gives him great power, but boy it is a lonely, terrible
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pressure. unique to modern times. this began with eisenhower but it's still true. you know, biden is taking office at a time when north korea has nukes. iran is building nukes. the chinese have nukes. a lot of nukes out there and we are -- it's not the cold war, but we are in a new place that is also dangerous. >> all right. author and historian evan thomas, it's always great to have you here. thank you so much and jeff greenfield, thank you as well. still ahead, we fast forward to two of the more recent presidents, bill clinton and barack obama. joe biden had a front-row seat to both of those administrations, but that does not necessarily mean he aims to repeat them. we'll talk about that next on "morning joe." we'll talk about that next on "morning joe." pain hits fast.
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welcome back. it is tough to look at the incoming biden presidency without reflecting on the last two democrats to hold the highest office in the land --
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bill clinton and barack obama. both achieved significant accomplishments, but not without their share of challenges. we spoke with historian michael beschloss and biographer david maraniss. here is that conversation. >> so david, the two presidents that you have written about recently over the -- recently being over the past 25 years, bill clinton and barack obama, they both came in with majorities. they both lost those majorities two years later. what can joe biden learn from both of their presidencies? >> well, joe, remember when barack obama was elected, the onion headline -- black men given nation's worst job. think of what joe biden is falling into, you know? not just the recession that's worse than what barack obama faced but also the pandemic and racial and economic inequity. so, you know, whatever he's
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learned from the past, he's going to have to deal with something that no one has really had to deal with before. i would say that with -- you know, he has to learn to be flexible. whatever you think you know coming into the presidency, that's what changed them. so bill clinton came in thinking that when he needed a policy to be done right, he knew exactly who to turn to which was his wife hillary because that had worked in arkansas. well, for various reasons, it didn't work once he got to the white house. barack obama came in singing that song of reconciliation. the famous no red states or blue states and really believing that he could bridge that divide. and he had a vice president, joe biden, who not only believed that as well, but was really better at trying to accomplish that. and they faced very -- you know, difficult times trying to do it. so whether president biden comes
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in with that same idea it's going to be an incredibly difficult task for him to pull off. >> but david, isn't timing everything also? i mean, with bill clinton, i always said and of course this will offend a lot of my progressive friends and maybe it's the former republican of me speaking but i thought if he had led with welfare reform in first term and then moved in the second term to health care reform, things may have been far different for him. but he went faster i think -- again, maybe it's just the former republican in me, but both he and barack obama moved left faster than most of americans were prepared for. and in both cases, they answered two years later -- the voters answered with very conservative congresses. >> well, you're not the only one who made that argument about bill clinton. i mean, al gore wanted to do with welfare reform first as well. and he did suffer from that he
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tried to do. now, barack obama suffered but he also accomplished something that will have lasting impact. and so the question was whether that was worth it. i think really, again, you can only learn so much from that history because joe biden cannot afford to wait around. he has too many problems to teal with right away. but you're right, timing is everything and the timing this time is crucial. >> yeah. so michael beschloss you believe that joe biden should look at a republican and a democrat. dwight eisenhower and what he did after his '52 landslide and fdr after his landslide. explain. >> you know, joe, as you and i have discussed, i'd like to have a hybrid of roosevelt and eisenhower. roosevelt roosevelt who came in
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'33, great depression, had to bring the country together and get the policies together and at the same time, roosevelt said the presidency is a place preeminently of moral leadership. do we ever hear president trump saying that? i think people are hungering for that. the reason i say eisenhower 1953, we had to deal with the democratic congress. had to work with lip don johnson and yet, they got a lot of things done together in foreign policy and eisenhower did not do enough to talk about the plight of black people or latinos or poor or women, but above and beyond that, given the framework of the 1950s, he brought the country together after the traumas of the depression, world war, world war ii, cold war,
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mccarthyism. it was a really rocky time and with those caveats we were blessed to have someone of eisenhower's ability to bring the country together and i hope that biden can follow in the footsteps. >> speaking of being blessed, i look at biden and i think of a return to normalcy and i can't help but think of two presidents in the middle of the 1970s who follow the hell of vietnam and watergate. >> right. >> it just seems to me that america was so blessed to have two undeniably good men in gerald ford and jimmy carter run the white house from 1974 -- the end of '74 through 1981. >> you know, anyone who says our system doesn't work take a look at the light '70s. ford and jimmy carter, neither would claim they were perfect presidents but if you want to design someone to heal and unify
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this country, you can't do better than ford and carter. especially given what we're dealing with next month with an inauguration with an outgoing president who as of this moment is threatening not to show up and to have a counterinaugural of his own to take a big bite out of the new president. look at 1977, jimmy carter gets up and surprises gerald ford the outgoing president by saying for myself and my nation, i would like to thank my predecessor for all he's done to heal our land. these two guys who ran against each other in 1976, carter won by the narrowest of margins, yet, later on, i heard them with my own voice in the east room in the white house in 1980 say they thought they had the closest friendship between any two ex-presidents in the united states. >> and just a lesson for politicians, that was a brutal election in 1976 and it was so heart breaking to gerald ford that he had to have betty speak
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for him, gene robinson, the next morning. >> yeah. absolutely. just it was devastating. i have a question for david maraniss. good to see you, david. so you know how important it is to give a speech, you have to be about to read the room if you want to get anywhere. >> yes. >> and i think you could argue that president obama didn't quite accurately read the room. i remember hearing him say that any day now, he thought the sort of the fever of massive resistance on the republican side to what he was trying to accomplish was going to burn itself out and it was going to somehow go away and it never did. joe biden thinks he can reach across the aisle and sort of
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diminish the fever that way. do you think he's reading that correctly or not? >> that's the essential question we'll learn in the next year, gene. i think he believes he can do it but also i think because of the eight years of experience working with president obama and trying to deal with boehner and the senate republicans, you know, he's seasoned in terms of understanding what can be or can't be accomplished. i think that going in to the white house, he almost feels compelled to say those things and to try to work it out. but i think he's probably pretty smart about what he can actually do and in reading that room. as for obama, i always thought, you know, without getting too psychological that he believed that because he figured out so many contradictions in his own life, you know, think of all the things that life threw at him in
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terms of racial identity and so on that if he could work that out, why couldn't the rest of the country and why couldn't congress. and that's why he was a little bit -- you might say naive or not really reading the room quite right. i think joe biden doesn't have that same problem. >> all right. david maraniss and michael beschloss, we so greatly appreciate you being with us. gene robinson, thank you so much. still ahead, gerald ford pardoned richard nixon. would joe biden consider the same for trump if it ever came to that? we'll talk about the nixon era of politics and the big takeaways for the next president. olitics and the big takeaways for the next president. (kids laughing) ♪ upbeat tempo ♪ sanctuary music it's the final days of the wish list sales event
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it is clear that the north atlantic pact is not an improvisation. it's a statement of facts and the lessons of history. we have learned our history lessen from two world wars in
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less than half a century that experience has taught us that the control of europe by an unfriendly power would constitute an intolerable threat to the national security of the united states. we participated in those two great wars to preserve the integrity and independence of the european half of the atlantic community. in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the american half. it is a simple fact, proved by experience, that an outside attack upon one member of this community is an attack on all members. >> welcome back. that was secretary of state dean atchison speaking about nato less than one month before its foundation. with just weeks before inauguration days, we are
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revisiting our conversations about what joe biden can learn about the presidency from the 45 others who came before him. here is our conversations with historians evan thomas and walter isaacson. >> let's talk about the wise men and i think the timing is perfect. this is an extraordinary book, talking about both fdr and harry truman using the best and the brightest in an age where you have the lord chancellor of britain saying, i don't think we -- leading up to brexit, i don't think we trust experts anymore. we don't need the advice of experts anymore and of course, donald trump's selecting a radiologist to lead a global fight against a pandemic. talk about these wise men and why harry truman and fdr were wise enough to use them. >> evan? >> because they were -- for one thing, they were the people who really did know the world.
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america was isolationists in the 1930s. we didn't know the world and we got into world war ii and we learned in a hurry. there was a small group of men, and in those days it was men, who had done business all over the world. who had been diplomats and so fdr and then truman turned to them because they knew the world. and they had this sense, this key sense, that america could not just go home again after world war ii. one of them, avril harriman said americans want to come home and go to movies and drink coke. and atchison and kenan and mccoy, we couldn't do it. there was a real communist threat and europe was in chaos and in decay and the united states had to step up to it. and rescue europe and secure the world against communism. >> yeah. and walter, it is -- as evan
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said, this was an america who had been -- had looked inward and had been isolationist and followed george washington's warnings in his farewell address for 150 years to avoid foreign entanglements. as harry truman said at the time, when he was pushing the truman doctrine, he said i have the biggest selling job that a president ever had. but it was the wise men that were surrounding truman that helped make the sell. >> yes. and in your book, "saving freedom", you talk about the burst of freedom that comes in the 1947, '48, '49 period and there's the truman doctrine and they create the nato and the breton woods type of agreement. even to things like radio free europe that help us preserve freedom around the world. and we get engaged. one problem is we're continuing
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to use those institutions such as nato and, you know, the international monetary fund, that in some ways are not geared for the 21st century. so we have to have that burst of creativity that the wise men had 60, 70 years ago so we can have a new birth of creativity in figuring out how to face the 21st century challenges. don't forget that when you use phrases like the wise men or the best and the brightest there's a tiny slight, ironic twinge to it. because these people were very much part of an american establishment and sometimes they got too stuck into the establishment thinking. but took the wise men to come back in to power after the best and the brightest had helped us to get into vietnam to say that was a mistake, let's get out of vietnam. so we have to guard against too much establishment thinking. >> evan thomas, you also wrote a
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great biography on richard nixon, while of course, you say the word nixon and immediately your mind is fixed on watergate. what are some of the things that joe biden can learn from richard nixon? >> nixon was an arch communist, arch anticommunist, who was able to deal with communists. he was -- nixon personally negotiated the first ever arms control agreement in moscow with the soviet union. he went there. he used his brilliant adviser henry kissinger. they were on the same page and they created this system of alliances and they were willing to talk to our enemies and they were always in the world. they were always -- he never wanted to retreat, even though kissinger came from the tradition of isolationism, he understood that america had a
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role to play and walter is right, the old institutions need to be freshened up or changed. it's not like we can go back to that world that no longer exists but the idea that america had a central role in the world that's still true. >> hey, walter, it's willie. i'm interested in the idea that you put out which is guarding against too much establishment thinking as you look at the best and the brightest going into vietnam from the people you write about in the book. how do you view that right now for joe biden as he's putting his foreign policy team together. there is a -- there has to be a place i guess between old establishment thinking and whatever the team that donald trump has had in place for four years is, which is disruptive and inexperienced and in some ways unqualified. what do you make of joe biden's team right now? >> i think you need competence and you need some wisdom and that's what somebody like antony blinken brings into the party. he is somebody who would be in the category of the wise men of the previous generations he is today. and you see younger thinkers
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like jake sullivan or even a brian deese coming in. i think the important thing is you don't want to have it be too insular and do remember that it was the best and the brightest who came in and kind of stumbled us into vietnam. the wise men even though they were establishment in 1967 and '68, they'd tell lyndon johnson, you know, we have to rethink. we have to think anew. we have to look outside of the box. this vietnam program is misguided and is not going to work. so there's a difference between being the best and the brightest and the wise and i think joe biden has the wisdom and so do most -- so do all of the people i have seen so far around him. i love -- we have one of our louisiana people who just came into the administration, greenfield, who is u.n. ambassador. she is somebody who has been career foreign service but she brings a new voice and fresh perspective.
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so i think it's a nice mix. >> yeah. hey, evan, walter was talking about thinking anew. you brought up nixon going to china. only nixon could go to china, of course, it was sort of the catch phrase around that for historians because he was such a fierce anticommunist domestically and nixon of course gave us the epa and moved in the direction that few people would have expected the congressman elected in '48, moving in the direction that nixon moved. what are some of the areas where joe biden could move to surprise those -- that might be expecting more of the same old line thinking? >> well, right away, he has to find things where there's common interests. he needs to establish some trust because right now there's no
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trust. he's got to find a way to get to mitch mcconnell, if that's possible. he's got -- there are a couple of moderate senators there. he's got to build some bridges, infrastructure, before you can try the chancy stuff. he has to find a way to signal to the moderates and to the right that he's not in bed with the progressives, that he's not going to be a creature of the democratic left. that's a tricky exercise because he needs a democratic left. he needs everybody. he needs a big tent. so he's going to have to great diplomatic skill to do this. but the ones who are successful are engaged. they went there, they did it. you know, as you mentioned nixon went to china. he didn't love the chinese but he went there. barack obama would have been a better president if he had spent more time playing golf with boehner and republicans and biden understands that.
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biden got in big trouble for being friends with segregationists back when he was a senator, you know, senator eastland. he needs to do that kind of thing. may not have to consort with the devil, but he needs to reach across and talk to people who are his natural enemies. >> well, it's something that lbj understood, walter. it's something that ronald reagan understood early on when reagan was pitching republicans and democrats on selling the awacs. there's a famous story of one of the congressman being clumsy and swatting the jellybeans under the floor and it was reagan, the president of the united states, getting on hands and knees picking up the jellybeans and putting them back in. he was just dumbfounded, but reagan understood what evan was talking about. you've got to deal with the other side and remember what bismarck said that politics is
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the art of the possible. isn't that what joe biden understands as well as anybody in washington? >> i think not since lyndon johnson have we had a person of the senate who knew how to work across the aisle and it's tougher than in lbj's age because people are more polarized but biden has it in the dna, in his bones and heritage and breeding that he's a person who knows how to work within the senate and we'll give one more shot to that form of thinking in our democracy. >> evan thomas and walter isaacson, thank you both very, very much. coming up, joe biden will be sworn in but a whole bunch of house democrats will not. the party suffered a bruising at the ballot box and we spoke with the congressman who's in charge of fixing it. the next leader of the house, democratic campaign arm shawn
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patrick moloney. that's straight ahead on this special edition of "morning joe." ead on this special edition of "morning joe. did you know that every single flush
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welcome back. democrats retained control of the house but it's razor thin. sean patrick maloney is joining us here on "morning joe." >> congratulations on your election to head up the dccc. so what is your assessment of what happened on the house side? we have been talking about the presidential election. didn't win many of the tossup races that you hoped to win, certainly didn't pick up all of the seats that you were projected to pick up. what happened from your point of view? >> yeah. that's an important question. and i think the honest answer is we don't really know, but i know how to find out.
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there's a lot of opinions out there and some of them are informed and they have some validity. you know, i have been here before. i had to look at an election and learn the lessons and do it in a rigorous way. that's what i'm going to do. so i'm going to keep my powder dry on this, but look, we'll hold this majority and do better and there are lessons to learn and one of them is that when your opponents are lying and caricaturing and an issue as important as racial justice, we need to figure out way to keep fighting for racial justice but be smart and effective when they throw the kitchen sink at us. i get that. i'm in the trump district, i have to play on the other side of the chessboard and a lot of our members need to do that. and we're going to learn some lessons and we're going to patch things up and hold this majority. >> i think you were on that caucus phone call a few weeks ago that was reported out some of the more moderate members, some who won re-election, some who didn't, were upset about the
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national message of socialism and defunding the police and that caricature being applied to all democrats running. how do you overcome a national message from republicans and frankly from trump that seems to have swamped the race by race, district by district messages? >> when you say a national message from republicans we are talking about a bunch of lies and distortions and demagoguery about an issue as important as the murder of george floyd and whether some of us think we should do something about that and whether they're willing to play short-term political games with something that important. and if that worked to get them a couple of seats, well, shame on them. but i'm proud of my team, the blue team, for standing up for racial justice and if we need to be reminded that they're going to throw the kitchen sink at us, those who beat republicans don't find that surprising.
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and the skill and the art of this game is to stand up for the right thing. to do something with the authority and the opportunity we're given, but be smart about it. build a real coalition, a relationship with our voters so that when the lies and the distortions come, ordinary folks out there can say, that doesn't sound right. that guy has got my brother his v.a. disability benefits and that's the guy who got better infrastructure, built a bridge down the road and those guys believe in science and believe in a woman's right to choose under roe v. wade. oh, by the way, the science on global warming is something we need to focus on. so how are we going to get a solution on that? do we have cheaper prescription drugs, can i retire before i'm 90? those are issues people need to know about when they hear the lies and distortions. >> if people believed you were going to vote to defund the
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police, they'll vote against a lot of democrats in swing districts. it's what happened this year. it was one of the lies that stuck. we heard the republicans accusing democrats of wanting to defund the police. i had nancy pelosi on here and she said just as bluntly as possible that she opposed defunding the police. joe biden said he opposed defunding the police. we had jim clyburn on saying it was a stupid slogan and no, we didn't need to defund the police. i had civil rights leader al sharpton on repeatedly saying no, we need more police. you look at people that are in the most crime-ridden neighborhoods they want more police on the streets. they want police officers in their schools. they want more police. so you were lied about. the question is what are you going to do about it? because you know what, it
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doesn't -- your good intentions it will lose you 20 more seats. how do you fight back against those lies? >> hey, joe, you didn't hear me say that. we're not fighting back. you didn't hear me say that i've got a political strategy built around good intentions and i didn't win as a gay guy ohoping for the best. here's the deal. here's the deal. why do you guys cut away from the president of the united states when he's giving a news conference? because you know when you echo those lies he's telling about our democracy, you're amplifying that distortion. you are amplifying that lie. that's why you cut away. so i think respectfully we have all got a role to play here and if we're going to marinate in this defund nonsense which none of us support which is not the justice in missing act named after george floyd. we don't support that. so when you repeat it endlessly,
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you are amplifying and echoing a republican talking point. so we all have a role to play. what i'm going to do is i'm going to build a relationship with voters, get a smart new strategy. have a modern dccc that learned some lessons about what just happened to us and kick the day lights out of the red team the next time they lie about the good thing we're doing on health care and racial justice. but what i'm not doing to do is run away from what's wrong with this country and trying to do something about it. >> yeah. did you know -- a lot of media outlets echo outside of the usual suspects -- echo that defund the police mantra? that the republicans were pushing. >> i think it's happening right now. i mean, i think i have heard you say -- let me say something complimentary because i know you'll have a rough holiday season anyway. i watched the first part of the show. >> yeah, looking rough. >> i think what i can tell you, you on this show have been right
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again and again and again. when you say, what is going to be left of the republican party when donald trump is done, you know, thelma and louising it off the cliff? what i'm telling you is is that when they abandon science and public health in the middle of a pandemic, when they play short-term demagoguery on racial justice, when they deny science on public health and also global warming. when they're willing to play around with a woman's right to choose and the supreme court might do that, we are going to win on those issues in the competitive seats like the one i represent. maybe not today or tomorrow but if we get smart about how we communicate, start talking like human beings once in a while, it's short-term smart/long-term dumb what they're doing and immoral to ignore the murder of george floyd and we should remember that. we want to do something about that and i'm not doing to apologize for that because my opponents have been lying about it. we need to get smarter. >> tell you what -- yeah.
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yeah, need to get smarter and need to get angrier and i need to hear if i'm a democrat, do i want to contribute to the dccc? we need to hear democratic candidates get pissed off when people lie about them and go on the attack and not be back on the heels when people are lying and calling them socialists, and lying about they want to defund the police, all of the things that they lied about in the past campaign. gene robinson is here, he has a question for you. >> congressman, congratulations or condolences, which ever are appropriate. i'm going to press again on the point that joe is making which is what they did was immoral and
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awful and should be condemned the way they have lied and demagogued but it was effective in the short term. it was effective for them and so to what extent, you know, do democrats have to find ways to fight fire with fire? to what extent do democrats have to be -- have to make themselves the ones on offense rather than on defense and how do they do that? >> yeah. gene, first of all, i'm a big fan. lets's pull the lens back a little bit which is that they got beat at the white house, they got beat in the house of representatives. we're holding the gavel. but before we put on the black and go into mourning they got beat in two out of three. and in the state of new york, which did some progressive criminal justice reform the democrats gained seats in the state senate and now have a super majority. so i think until we really look at the evidence and the data, we need to be a little bit humble about what we know. i want to go find out and we have done that before, we built
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a new battle plan for 2018 and we won 40 seats net. i think what i'm telling you is that this short-term demagoguery, even with moral issues like civil rights, like the rights of my family, which may be denied by a conservative supreme court. i'm proud of my party for trying to take on the challenge of doing something important for our country. and facing these kind of attacks. i guess i'm putting a plea on this network at least we not amplify and adopt the caricatures and talking points of our opponents and keep clear eyed about who's fighting for something and who's playing political games and i'm thrilled to be held accountable for winning seats while having some moral character in the way we do our business. >> just the beginning of the conversation, i suspect. sean patrick maloney, thank you for your time and good to see
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you as always. we have much more ahead including a look on the pandemic's impact on addiction and mental health. but first, we'll examine the legacy of thomas jefferson through the lens of today. we'll be right back. efferson through the lens of today. we'll be right back. but first, we'll examine the but first, we'll examine the when you're through with powering through, it's time for theraflu hot liquid medicine. powerful relief so you can restore and recover. theraflu hot beats cold.
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good morning. welcome back to "morning joe." ike eisenhower, richard nixon, bill clinton and barack obama, our conversations have focused on how joe biden's predecessors might shape his thinking as the next president of the united states. and we want to go back even further to the founding of the nation and thomas jefferson. jon meacham and tom ricks joined us f

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